Is your system running smoothly?
A few simple adjustments in diet and lifestyle may be all you need to keep your digestive system in peak condition.
Seven Golden Rules for Good Digestion
1. Drink Water
Water is vital for digestive health and the absorption of the food you eat. Try to drink at least 1.5 litres each day - that's six to eight big glasses. You should drink even more if you exercise.
2. Say goodnight!
Your digestive system needs R&R - just like you do! A regular regime of six to eight hours per night will do the trick. To give your digestion proper rest, don't eat a full meal just before bedtime.
3. Maintain meal times
Do you skip breakfast, grab a bite at lunch, then "make up for it" by bingeing at dinner? Help your digestive system do its job by eating regular meals at regular intervals. Even if the quantity of food ingested is the same, a "feast or famine" approach to eating puts a strain on your system.
4. Keep moving
Physical exercise accelerates digestion; it stimulates your system and assists the peristaltic action of the intestines. Just 30 minutes of brisk activity a day will help keep your system in tune.
5. Do as your Mother said!
She probably told you to chew your food well. Chewing is the first stage of digestion: it breaks down food and signals to your other organs that it's time to secrete digestive juices. If you gulp your food, you miss out on a vital step in the digestive process.
6. Focus on dietary fibre
Aim for 25 - 30 g per day. You can easily boost your intake by choosing wholemeal breads over white, by snacking on almonds or chunky peanut butter and by munching a piece of fresh fruit instead of drinking fruit juice.
7. Stress less
Emotional or mental stress can interfere with your digestion. That's why you should avoid sitting down to a meal when you are anxious or upset. Try taking five minutes to relax before you eat... and remember to enjoy your food.